As Japan struggles to cope with hundreds of thousands of homeless and a rising death toll of victims following last Friday’s devastating Sendai earthquake, stories from Unification members who survived the tragedy are being reported to Familyfed.org.
One Unification Church member, in Hanamaki City, has reported that the 9.0 magnitude earthquake took place right after she picked up her child from Kindergarten on Friday. The mother went home right away to pick up minimal personal belongings, mainly diapers for her 7-month-old baby, and then drove away with her children by car. However, as soon as the tsunami warning was issued in her town, she turned around to go back home and grab True Parent’s picture and the eight holy books, in case this would be the last time she would see her house. The tsunami hit her village soon after she escaped, and her house was swept away completely.
“I still cannot find words to describe this view,” she reported. “My town has totally changed, and I feel like I was looking at hell. It reminds me of the field after a war or the earth after Noah’s flood.” The woman, who asked not to be identified, has confirmed that her family is now safe, and she was able to find her husband, who was at work when the earthquake hit. They are now staying at a public auditorium that currently has food and water, she said.
The woman said that, having lost everything in her physical possession, she has been reflecting on her life. “I have been repenting for the life that I led before this happened. I have not been able to stop my tears of appreciation and feelings of unworthiness for being saved. This is the first time I have felt such strong love and hope for my life from God and True Parents. Now that I have been given this blessing, the questions I am repeatedly asking myself are: What is the most important thing in life, and what can I leave behind on this earth?” she said recently.
Approximately 452,000 people are overnighting in schools and gymnasiums, according to the Associated Press. The official death toll is 4,300 but is expected to rise far above 10,000, according to Japanese officials speaking to reporters on NHK TV. Millions of Japanese in the northern prefectures of Japan are short on food due to closed roads and the shortage of gasoline needed for trucks that resupply grocery stores, according to Japanese Unificationists who have called relatives in Japan. Threats of leaking radiation at the Fukushima power plant 150 miles north of Tokyo has caused panic buying in Tokyo too, resulting in empty shelves at supermarkets.
“My relatives say that the spirit of many survivors is quite positive. Although they have lost everything, they are grateful to be alive, and they are helping each other as best they can, ”according to Keiko Burton, a resident of Greenbelt, Maryland, who has spoken with several relatives in Aomori, Japan.
Japanese UC Members “Pray Humbly” Throughout their National Crisis
On March 13, 2011, the headquarters Unification Church in Tokyo broadcast through the internet a Sunday Service for all Japanese Unification Church members.
At the beginning of the service, a silent prayer was offered for those who were affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Then condolence messages from Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, President of the Unification Church International, and Mr. Kook Jin Moon, Chairman of the Tongil industrial group, were read to the Japanese members.
Following these supportive messages that shared blessings for Japan from True Parents, Rev. Song Young Seok, President of the National Association of Blessed Families in Japan, began his speech with guidance for the members titled “Pray Humbly.”
“Because of the earthquake and tsunami, many people have passed away suddenly. Our grandfather, grandmother, mother, father, elder brother, elder sister, younger brother, younger sister, or niece and nephew, grand children….Let us offer our prayer for them.” All Unification Church members prayed together at this time.
In his speech, he retold the story of how he felt watching the news about Japan in a hotel in Korea. He continued with tears, “I prayed to God saying ‘Heavenly Father, Japan is the Mother Nation. In order to fulfill this mission, Japanese members have worked so hard, I cannot even express it in words. Heavenly Father, if the earthquake and tsunami strike again, what will happen to the Providence? I will cancel my trip, and I will leave for Japan by all means tomorrow morning. Suppose I die, I will die in Japan, and suppose I live, I will live in Japan. Please do not expand the disaster any more…’”
The Unification Church in Japan has announced that all of its members will be doing a three-day fast from March 15 -- 17. The church reportedly is calling upon all members in Japan to assist the victims of the earthquake by offering a donation equivalent to the price of these nine meals avoided by fasting.
The national headquarters of the Unification Church in America is also collecting funds to support the Japanese Unification Church and its members after the recent earthquake and tsunami.
Donations can be made on our National website, www.familyfed.org/members, under the banner: "Japan Earthquake Relief Donations."
To go directly to the donation page click here: Help Japan
Contributed by Celine Tardy